Wacky Judge Antics
The Wandering JudgeWhen you think about weird legal cases and trials, you generally think about the crazy and outlandish behavior of criminals and the odd crimes they commit. You don’t generally think about the judge being a part of the problem. However, that’s not always the case, as you will see. Sometimes the judge can do some strange things that can change the outcome of a case, and that’s what may well have happened here. It was serious enough that the Louisiana Supreme Court actually intervened. Let’s take a closer look at what happened.
Medical malpractice cases are always serious business. In these types of cases, someone was generally severely injured because of the actions or inactions of a medical professional. The goal of the trial is to get to the bottom of what really happened to determine whether the doctor was at fault. When Richard and Carrie Logan went to trial for their medical malpractice claims against. Dr. Donald J. Schwab Jr., they had never seen a judge act the way this one did.
During the trial, Judge Timothy C. Ellender would get up and walk around the courtroom. When some of the witnesses were giving their testimony, he would even get into the jury box and eat candy. It sounds like something out of a bad comedy film, but that is what Richard and Carrie Logan say happened. The Louisiana Supreme Court agreed with them.
This type of strange behavior was not the end of it though. When the defense team’s expert medical witness walked into the courtroom, the judge supposedly greeted him with a handshake and a hug. This could give the jury a certain impression of how the judge viewed the case. If he’s walking around and not paying attention to what’s happening, and he’s spending time in the jury box, not to mention appears overly friendly with the expert witness in front of everyone, the jury might think the case is a joke too. That seems to be what happened, as they sided with the doctor.
When Richard and Carrie Logan took this information to the Supreme Court, the court granted them another trial saying that the first trial caused them to be victims of a “miscarriage of justice”.
Past Troubles for the Judge
This was not the first time that Judge Ellender has been in trouble with the Supreme Court. In the past, he’s done a number of questionable things. In 2004, he was suspended for six months after he appeared at a Halloween party in public wearing an afro wig, blackface, and a prison jumpsuit. In addition, he was suspended for 30 days due to his demeaning and condescending behavior toward a woman who was requesting protection because of domestic abuse.
Not all members of the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed with this decision to give the Logans a new case, stating that there was nothing in the trial record that indicated the judge’s behavior. Most of the members felt that it was better to give the couple a new trial though.